Tuesday, October 25, 2011

First of all, here's a pic of Nolan being philosophical while wearing a monkey hat. I'm absolutely in love, even though he's currently living life on Australian time :)

Now this is kind of a total bait n' switch on my part because this next Youtube video is one of the most tense and disturbing things I have ever listened to. *SPOILER* The guys live. I'm saying this ahead of time because otherwise it would be pretty unbearable listening. I found this video posted on AvCanada.

This is a Mitsubishi MU-2 in severe icing, over the mountains, trying to make it to Kelowna BC. Kelowna is in a valley, with high mountains all around.

The MU-2 has gotten a pretty bad reputation in icing, in fact it was subject to a full icing recertification review after some high-profile accidents. The review found that the MU-2 was properly certified for flight into icing, and that it's perfectly safe to fly in light-to-moderate icing as long as you follow the proper procedures. If you disrespect the airplane in icing, you will hear the angels singing sooner rather than later. I'm absolutely NOT saying that's what happened in this situation, it sounds to me like they were doing everything right but got caught in severe icing, which by definition will even overwhelm icing equipment that's working properly.

If you check the first part of this video
, you'll hear the the guys picked up a lot of icing, and it caused a propellor imbalance. That can cause some serious vibration, to the point of the prop departing the aircraft. The only solution is to reduce power (and descend), or keep the power up and hope the plane doesn't shake apart. A hell of a choice.

I flew the MU-2 for just over a thousand hours, and my older blog entries are full of stories about it. A beautiful machine, but particularly unforgiving.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Welcome Nolan! Weighing in at 7 lbs 5 ounces and scoring a perfect 9/9 on his APGAR test, he entered the world at 830 this morning with a mighty roar. Happy birthday to our champion son! Man, I have never felt an adrenaline rush like that before in my life. I have also never cried like that before in my life. Such a primal rush! Both baby and mom are doing great - they are napping and I'm riding an endorphin high that's taking me into low-earth orbit.

Now back to staring at him while he sleeps...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

*Update* From yesterday's post. We got back from the Doc's office just now and baby Balthor* is scheduled to make his debut blog post on Monday at 8am. My last sleep-in weekend! Ever :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

We are totally set for a home birth, so that's cool. We completed all the checklists, bought all the accessories (sheets, towels, tarps for our bedroom, beer-for-daddy, etc) and are totally set to have our son in 3 weeks! Except for one thing...

We spent a whole whack of time at the hospital yesterday and today, and after taking most of Lisa's blood and most of my sanity, the doc told us a word.

Choleostasis. Ko-leo-stasis.

Big word, right? It translates to "itchy hands and feet at the end of pregnancy, with possible side-effect". Sometimes when a woman is near the end of her pregnancy, her hormones make her liver angry. The angry liver beats up on her gallbladder, which screws up the ratio of gall-bladder salts that it produces.

Fun fact: when your gallbladder salt ratio gets screwed up, it makes your extremities itch like a mofo. It's absolutely unbearable for her, and it gets even worse at night. In fact, we have a big Tupperware container that I fill with water and ice packs, and we get up a couple of times in the middle of the night to soak her feet and hands so she can sleep again for an hour or two.

Unfortunately there is a possible side-effect for our son, and even more unfortunately, the side-effect is 'possible late-term stillbirth', especially if Lisa carries past 38 weeks. The odds are still low, but they are above zero so we are going to err on the side of caution. Lisa is currently at 37 weeks and 2 days, so we are meeting with the obstetrician tomorrow to discuss when she's gonna induce Lisa, which will be before next Tuesday.

Inducing is carried out at the hospital. Oh, as an added bonus they tell us that baby Balthor* will likely enter the world via Cesarean due to (whatever the hell it was the doc said this morning when I was zoned out and not paying attention - I think it had something to do with itchy hands and feet though).

Heck of a thing to go from anticipating an uneventful home-birth to getting ready for a Cesarean in the hospital. At least the end result is a healthy baby, and that's really the point of all of this, isn't it.

Last but not least, we got to see a whole bunch of awesome ultrasound footage of him in the past 24 hours, and he's pretty damn cute. Watch out, ladies who will be graduating in 2029!

Anyway, that's my story. Now to try to get some rest for what is guaranteed to be a loooong day tomorrow, followed by a loooong 18+ years or so :) My God I'm looking forward to it!

*As per agreement between Lisa and myself, Balthor is now a placeholder name (we have a more normal one picked out) unless he enters the world and obviously is a Balthor.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

This is our new F/o. He passed (and did good on) his checkride today! As it was his first jet we had to do some in-aircraft training, so this is our new hire on his first flight in the actual aircraft. For the pilot-geek crowd, the Canadian Air Regulations are written in such a way that if you have not acted as a crewmember on a jet before, you have to do 3 takeoffs and landings in the actual airplane before you are signed off, which must include: normal t/o, visual circuit, normal landing, simulated engine failure on takeoff, simulated engine failure at V1, simulated single-engine landing, non-precision approach, circling approach (if applicable), and at least 1 more landing. I mean, this is on top of spending a couple of weeks at Flightsafety, doing dozens of emergency drills and sweating it out in their simulator with the computer graphics and the motion and whatnot.

You may note that I call him a First Officer but he's sitting in the Captain's seat. Yup. At our company we swap flying legs, meaning we swap between "pilot who is moving the control surfaces of the airplane" and "pilot who is navigating and handling the radios". The placement of the controls / switches / instruments in the cockpit is such that it's a lot easier to actually fly the airplane from the left seat, so that's what we do. All our flight crew are trained and qualified to perform Captain or First Officer duties from either seat, so while our new guy will be sitting in the left seat, the person in the right seat will be a qualified Captain.

Now that he's a flight crew member with us he may turn up from time to time in the blog. I asked him what he wanted to be named online and he had no opinion on the matter, so next up - a contest to give our new F/o an internet handle! Polite suggestions only please :)